As one of his last acts in office Governor Jerry Brown granted a handful of pardons to ex-convicts across the state. A recipient of one of the pardons is a Vista veteran who was convicted of a “stupid” crime when he was just 18 years old.
Paul Clock was a teenager when he was convicted of burglary in 2004.
Clock’s story is that he was caught “Trying to take a bicycle, which was so stupid.”
He said his parents didn’t even want to bail him out.
“They said you made this poor choice, you're going to deal with it,” Clock said.
He served 180 days in jail and completed probation, then went on to serve in the U.S. Army. He made it through deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan and Korea before he retired. Clock says he began the pardon process last fall and got the news just a few days before Thanksgiving.
Told by state officials that he “earned his pardon,’ Clock had the joy of sharing the life-changing news in front of his family at Thanksgiving dinner.
"On Thanksgiving, I'm getting a pardon which means I'm getting to be a normal human again,” he said.
Clock was one of 38 people to receive this notice from Governor Brown's office this week.
For anyone out there trying to put their past behind them, Clock offered this message.
"When you’re in that community, in that cycle of just, I'm hanging around the same guys that are doing the same bad stuff, you have to break free of that. I know it’s not easy, but you have to break free."
Brown pardoned or commuted the sentences of four other people in San Diego County, including Amy Davis who was convicted of killing an actor in his San Diego apartment in 2005.